Daniel Mays (Line Of Duty, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Public Enemies) stars in BBC Two’s powerful factual drama as Peter Wildeblood, a thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover Eddie McNally (played by newcomer to television, Richard Gadd), under pressure from the authorities, turned Queen’s evidence against him in one of the most explosive court cases of the 1950s – the infamous Montagu Trial.
Daniel says ‘I’m incredibly proud to be part of a drama that tells such an important real-life story. Peter Wildeblood is a fascinating, complex, yet flawed character from a time when being a gay man in Britain was incredibly difficult – I can’t wait to bring his tale to life for the BBC Two audience.’
Woven through this powerful drama is real-life testimony from a chorus of men who lived through those dark days, when homosexuals were routinely imprisoned or forced to undergo chemical aversion therapy in an attempt to cure them of their “condition”. There is also testimony from a retired police officer whose job it was to enforce these laws, and a former psychiatric nurse who administered the so-called cures. All of these accounts serve to amplify the themes of the drama and help to immerse us in the reality of a dark chapter in our recent past, a past still within the reach of living memory.
Written by Brian Fillis, Against the Law is directed by Fergus O’Brien, produced by Scott James Bassett and executive produced by Aysha Rafaele, Creative Director of The Documentary Unit, BBC Studios.
Against the Law is part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season of programming marking the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalised homosexual acts that took place in private between two men over the age of 21.
Follow Daniel Mays on Twitter @DanielMays9